Pastor’s Desk September 9th

Scripture Passage:  “And all that believed were together, and had all things common; and sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.  And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, praising God, and having favor with all the people.  And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.”  Acts 2:44-47
Dear Friends,
     Most people would agree that we know how “to do” church.  We have multi-million dollar facilities, padded pews and chairs, and high quality lighting and sound equipment.  We have curriculum’s and teaching material that have been professionally prepared and even DVD’s to go along with them.  Our buildings are heated in the winter and cooled in the summer.  Our grounds and facilities are beautiful and aesthetically appealing.  We have budgets and bushes, toilets and showers.  We have kitchens to cook in and gymnasiums to play in.  We have choirs and praise teams, music and musicians and even well- ordered services with beginning and ending times. Everything is designed with comfort and convenience in mind.  The early church had none of these and they saw five thousand people come to faith in Christ at one service.
     Instead of doing church we need “to be the church.”  The church is not the building we gather in, but the people who make up the body.  I have been told, “Pastor, I can have church by myself in the woods or on the lake.”  My reply is that is physically impossible.  You may worship or praise the Lord, but you cannot be the church without being in contact with other believers.  Many people say that we Baptist go to church too much.  We have four set services a week here at Fairview.  If a person attended Sunday school, Discipleship and three of those worship services a week, they would be here a minimum of five hours.  There are 168 hours in every week and if they attended the minimum five hours a week, they would only be here 2.9 percent of the time.    That is less than the time it takes to watch two ball games. The early church met every day in the temple and broke bread daily with each other by traveling house to house.
     The early church had no money and the people had no government programs or social services.  They took care of each other by sharing what they had.  The services were simple.  They shared Scripture and prayed.  They encouraged one another and held each other accountable.  Their fellowship was unified and their hearts were filled with gladness and praise.  The result was that their witness had a favorable impact on their community and people were being saved every day.  Once again they were not doing church they were being the church.
     My point is this:  They had nothing but the Holy Spirit and each other and accomplished impossible task and experienced unexplainable miracles.  We have everything and accomplish so little.  The miracles we experience are based more on goals met and projects completed than the outpouring of the Spirit of God.  The majority of church growth we experience is more people coming from other churches instead of people coming to Christ to be saved.  I want us to be more like the New Testament Church and less like the modern liberal churches of today.  God knows my heart.  We can only impact our community when the Holy Spirit moves unhindered.  Lord help us to return to the basics of “being the church.”
In Christ,
Pastor Johnny